India has evacuated 534 of its citizens from conflict-hit Sudan and is preparing to take more citizens out of the northeast African country, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Wednesday.

Violence broke out in Sudan on April 15 after weeks of rising tensions between military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo over a proposed plan to merge the Rapid Support Forces – a powerful paramilitary group – into the national army. Daglo commands the Rapid Support Forces.

The warring factions agreed on a 72-hour ceasefire on Monday.

On Tuesday, an initial group of 278 Indians left Port Sudan on board the Indian Navy’s INS Sumedha. The ship reached Jeddah in Saudi Arabia later in the day.

The second group of Indians reached Jeddah airport aboard an Indian Air Force C-130J aircraft late at night. The third group also reached Jeddah on an Indian Air Force C-130J aircraft in the early hours of Wednesday.

Those who have been brought to Jeddah will commence their onward journey to India soon, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said.

India stepped up its efforts to evacuate its citizens from Sudan after the 72-hour truce was agreed between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Both the armed forces have been vying for supremacy since they worked together to overthrow Sudan’s long-term authoritarian President Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The military later agreed to share power with civilians but the rivalry between the two men has twice led to postponement of the signing of an agreement with civilian factions.

The violence that began on April 15 has led to 427 fatalities so far and left over 3,700 injured, AFP reported, citing agencies of the United Nations.